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There are plenty of selections that athletes have in selecting socks. Most of these socks are ear toward moisture whicking material. My question is, do these type athletic socks make a difference in the overall care of the foot and thus performance of the athelete?

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Sport socks can make a world of difference, especially during longer workouts or if you have sweaty feet.

They help reduce the moisture and friction, which becomes more important the longer you run.

In diabetics, they sometimes add patches of low friction material to the insoles, because this reduces the shear forces on high risk areas. Good sport socks do the same, they allow your foot to slip a little bit relative to the insole, which greatly reduces the friction and thus reduces the chance of blisters.

Regular cotton socks tend to get wet after about 20-30 minute workouts and don't transfer the moisture away from your foot sole. Therefore, any negative effect from the moisture, like increasing friction, get's worse over time.

Furthermore, wet cotton socks can loose their shape and start to wrinkle or bunch up. After several wash-wear cycles, cotton socks have been noted to become abrasive, which can potentially be irritating on the skin.

Proper socks are also known to improve the fitting of a shoe, because they're generally thicker in some important areas, whereas regular socks are more homogeneous in their composition.

So I'd advice anyone who has to do some serious running for longer stretches of time to wear sport socks.

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Note that I'm using cotton here as something bad, but it's more used to distinguish between 'regular' socks and specialized sport socks –  Ivo Flipse Mar 6 '11 at 18:00
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